Naureen Aqueel

Archive for the ‘Dawn’ Category

An edited version of this article was published in Spider magazine, Dawn, April 2012. 

New communication technologies have always driven change in the media world. From Guttenberg to the internet – the media realm has undergone drastic transformations with each new medium bringing methodologies and techniques that have contributed to defining and shaping the nature of journalism itself.

Come the age of the internet and web 2.0 and we are witnessing a media metamorphosis like none other before. Not only has the digital age made information dissemination faster and more efficient, it has fundamentally altered the direction of this information-flow. Gone are the days when information used to flow in a one-way stream “top-down” from the powerful media barons to the passive audiences. Now, thanks to the social media boom, the audiences are actively influencing the kind of content that is aired and published in addition to producing that content themselves. A technologically empowered public has given birth to a new form of journalism all together, popularly called “participatory journalism”, “grassroots journalism”, “citizen journalism” or “crowd sourcing”.

Social media platforms like blogs, micro-blogging sites like Twitter and social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Reditt etc are at the pinnacle of this new media revolution. The development of user friendly, low-cost or free online content management tools like Blogger, Blogspot, WordPress, Tumblr etc have helped facilitate the rapid growth and popularity of independently managed websites that are now sharing the role traditionally occupied by the mainstream media.

While some established media owners and professionals have responded to this new “invasion of the audiences” with suspicion, skepticism and even derision, others have gladly accepted it and integrated new media into the newsroom. For those not willing to embrace technology and the change it seeks in methodology and content, the future appears bleak. Audiences, readers or subscribers are now empowered by the multiple choices available in the marketplace that are faster at disseminating news. Add to that the collapse in advertising revenue faced by a large number of media organizations globally and you have the perfect formula that spells the demise of traditional print. Internet journalism in the form of news websites utilizing multi-media platforms, blogs and citizen journalism are now taking the place of mainstream print media.

The diminishing importance of print has been abetted by the competition from television news. News that makes it to the next day’s newspaper has already been broken and repeatedly broadcast on television and news websites. What little role of analysis and in-depth reporting print provided over television news from yesterday is now being taken over by news websites and blogs. By the time a story makes it to the newspaper the next day, it has already been covered with all possible angles on television and print.

Anyone with even a little exposure to today’s social media would be able to vouch for how social networks and micro-blogging platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been effective mediums for breaking news along with providing discussions and analysis. A number of major news events have been broken and reported in-depth on the social media by citizens. A major example is the news of Osama bin Laden’s killing which was first reported on Twitter by a Pakistani blogger Sohaib Athar when he unknowingly live tweeted the entire episode as US helicopters raided Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad. Upset by the noise of helicopters in his neighbourhood late at night, he tweeted “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM”. After a number of tweets that served as a live report for the entire raid, Athar tweeted “Uh oh, now I’m the guy who live blogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”

Similarly, reports of a number of bomb blasts have often made it to Twitter first before being reported on the local media. The Mumbai terror incident was also reported first on the social media. Describing the role played by Twitter in breaking the news, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone described how the first Twitter report of the ground shaking during earthquake tremors in California came nine minutes before the first Associated Press alert. “During the earthquake I am referring to, there was a lot of depth reporting as well – 36,000 separate updates on Twitter, which is the equivalent of a fifty thousand word book in terms of content size. And I’m confident that had the quake been worse, the next step would be in journalists using it to find human-interest stories.”

Other incidents that deserve special mention are those concerning the role of Twitter in the Iranian election protests of 2009 and in the Arab Spring movement. When protests broke out after the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection in Iran, the government moved to suppress dissent and censor the traditional media. However, tweets by Iranian citizens evaded that censorship and delivered to the world real time updates happening on Iran’s very streets. U.S. State Department officials also asked Twitter to delay a scheduled network upgrade in order to keep receiving information about the protests inside Iran. Mainstream media outlets, facing reporting constraints due to the media crackdown in the country, turned to social media to gather information. News websites like those of The New York Times, The Guardian and CNN incorporated Twitter feeds into their reports with unverified information and videos from citizens in Iran. The Arab Spring was also chronicled via tweets from the people themselves many of which were utilized by the mainstream media.

Media around the world and in Pakistan too have begun to realize the importance of technology and the social media. In addition to introducing citizen journalism segments like CNN’s iReport and DawnNews’ ‘Citizen Journalist’, many news organizations have begun monitoring Twitter for news updates, trends, feedback and to find and create stories. Some journalists have also turned to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to find sources for stories along with its use to report the news and share links. There is also a relatively recent trend being witnessed in the Pakistani media of incorporating Tweets into news reports. Major news events are being live reported with tweets and social media reactions forming a sizable part of such reports.

While these trends show how new technologies and new journalism concepts are being embraced by the mainstream media, there is a need for the media to be cautious in its use of social media. Concerns about credibility and ethics are not unfounded. There is always much risk of inaccuracy, deliberate misinformation and spin. As one of the fundamental principles of journalism holds, being right trumps being first. Only organizations that are able to adapt themselves to changing technology and at the same time hold on to the essential principles of journalism will be able to survive in the future.

An edited version of this article was published in Dawn, Magazine, July 20, 2008.

You have it as a refreshing sweet drink; you dip your chapatti in its spicy variant; and you drown your rice in its thinner flavoured form—yes, yoghurt is one of the most popular dairy products present on our tables during almost all meals. And for those tables that are deprived of its presence there is much reason why it must become an essential part of daily meals.

Yoghurt is a fermented dairy product containing live bacterial cultures that have proven to be very beneficial for health. In addition to this, yoghurt is rich in calcium, iodine, phosphorous, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and protein. On average, one cup (245 grams) of yoghurt contains 58.1 % of iodine and around 44% of calcium. Anyone wanting to supplement their calcium, iodine and protein intake has a good choice in this healthy food item.

But the specialty of yoghurt nonetheless is the teeming load of healthy bacteria that is present in it. This bacteria which is abundant in yoghurt helps boost immune response and fortify the immune system. One study has found that Lactobacillus casei, a friendly bacteria found in yoghurt can help improve the body’s ability to fight off pneumonia.

The active cultures found in yoghurt encourage the right kind of bacteria to multiply in the stomach, the anti-biotic qualities of which help combat and prevent infections. Yoghurt can also prevent diarrhoea and dysentery because of the high levels of prostagladins it contains.

The health promoting bacteria in yoghurt known as probiotics not only produces cellular immunity but is also said to have an effect on metabolism. In its role of bolstering cellular immunity, some researchers have suggested yoghurt can protect against some types of cancer. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2000) pointed out that the immuno-stimulatory effects of yoghurt prevent diseases such as cancer, infection, gastrointestinal disorders and asthma. The Lactobacillus in yoghurt has also been found to improve respiratory illnesses and asthma.

Probiotics found in yoghurt have proven to be particularly helpful in treating gastrointestinal problems like ulcers and inflammatory bowel diseases. Interestingly, probiotics can also help protect against food poisoning. So, it would always be a good idea to devour a healthy cup of yoghurt when you have given into your temptations and indulged in that not-so-hygienic boti roll.

Yoghurt consumption can also be a means of preventing osteoporosis on account of its high calcium content. And it is not just calcium that makes yoghurt bone-friendly. Lectoferrin, an iron building protein present in yoghurt also helps build bones.

Yoghurt has long been used as an important food item to promote health and treat many diseases. A century ago, a Russian microbiologist by the name Elie Metchnikoff put forward that the consumption of live microbes present in fermented milk products may in part be responsible for the long life of certain ethnic groups.

Yoghurt is an ideal food item for people of all ages. You can have it plain, or mix it with fruits or vegetables or top it with syrups, nuts or herbs. It can be presented and eaten in a myriad of different forms. Have it with lunch or as a dessert. And you can be sure that as you savour its smooth texture and the taste you have blended it into, it will work its way through your body improving your health in many ways.

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An edited version of this article was published in Dawn Magazine, June 15, 2008.

Just what determines how much one eats? Is it a growling stomach, a watering mouth or simply the portion size of a food item?

An interesting study by Andrew B Geier and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania published in the journal “Psychology Science” (2006) sheds light on this everyday mystery. These researchers think it is “unit bias” which determines how much one eats and explains why people tend to take one whole portion of food, whether it is big or small, as an appropriate amount.

The researchers describe “unit bias” as “the sense that a single entity (within a reasonable range of sizes) is the appropriate amount to engage, consume or consider”. To test their hypothesis, Geier and colleagues carried out a series of experiments in which they left different food items in varying degrees of unit segmentation for people to take as many units without any monetary cost.

For example, in one experiment, the researchers left a bowl of M&Ms in the hallway of an upscale apartment building with a sign that read “Eat your fill: please use the spoon to serve yourself”. Over the period that the candy was left there, some days it was left with a table-spoon sized scoop, while other days it was left with a quarter-cup scoop which was four times as big. There was no limit on how many spoon fills one could take. Passersby had the choice to take as little or as much as they wanted, regardless of which spoon was provided, but the researchers found that on average more M&Ms were taken on the days the bigger scoop was provided.

In another experiment, the researchers used pretzels to test the “unit bias”. When a bowl of 60 whole pretzels was left for passersby to help themselves from, it was found that measured by weight, more pretzels were taken as compared to the time when a bowl of 120 half pretzels was left.

Similarly, when a bowl of 80 small Tootsie Rolls was left in an apartment building, people took and consumed lesser measured by weight, than when a bowl of 20 large Tootsie Rolls was left which were four times as large.

People often take the offered portion of food as a single appropriate unit to be consumed. A plateful of food, a single wrapped candy, or a single piece of pretzel, all constitute the normal consumption unit for people and they tend to feel satisfied with it. Geier calls this a “culturally enforced consumption norm which promotes both the tendency to complete eating a unit and the idea that a single unit is the proper amount to it”.

Dietitians and researchers interested in the psychology of obesity find this to be a beneficial insight. Providing food in larger proportions can lead to overeating and obesity while smaller proportions may just hold the secret to controlled eating.

So, if you are one of those weight conscious people, it is always a good idea to have your food in smaller proportions. As for prospective hosts who already have their minds storming with ideas—yes, serving smaller proportions might just ensure that you guests don’t empty the serving dishes too fast!

An edited version of this article was published in Dawn Magazine, February 17, 2008.

Colour is integral to our lives. We cannot imagine life without the beauty and liveliness that colour injects into our lives. Colour is central to our perceptual experiences of the world around us. But more than just lending beauty to our world, colour has an effect on our psychological functioning as well.

Psychologists have long focused on the effect different colours have on our psychological functioning, physiological reactions, moods and emotions. Explanations for this relationship range from those proffering the role of learned associations to those attributing it to biological predispositions.

An interesting piece of research on the subject by Andrew J. Elliot and his colleagues was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology (2007). Through a series of complex experiments with varying conditions to ensure validity and reliability, this group of researchers examined the influence of the colour red on performance in achievement contexts. In the first four experiments, the researchers found that the brief perception of red prior to an important test (ranging from anagram tests to IQ tests) led to impaired performance, without the participants in the experiments being conscious of it. Exposure to the colours was achieved by placing coloured participant numbers or coloured folio paper. The same effect was not present after exposure to other colours.

The next two experiments established the link between red and avoidance motivation or the motivational tendency that arises out of a fear to avoid failure and negatively influences performance. This link was apparent in both behavioural measures apparent in task choice and in psycho-physiological measures observable in cortical activation etc.

The research demonstrates how even brief exposure to the colour red can subtly influence behaviour and psychological functioning and impair one’s performance in achievement contexts. The researchers are however unsure whether this influence of the colour red is culturally based (since teachers mark mistakes with red and red symbolizes danger in some contexts) or biologically based.

However, one thing is clear. It would be safer to avoid exposing yourself to red when undertaking some important task where achievement is valued.

An edited version of this article was published in Dawn Education page, February 3, 2008.

Sarah was a second year university student, well known among teachers and fellow students for her active participation in class discussions. Be it Sociology class or an Economics lecture, Sarah always had something to contribute. She also had a good academic record throughout her school and college. However, things had been a little different this semester. It was as if she had been bit by the ‘lazy bug’. Although, she had been active in class discussions, Sarah had not even touched her books and handouts throughout the semester. Now, with exams approaching Sarah had much to worry about. She had to complete the required readings for five courses and prepare for the exams.

As she quickly skimmed over books, notes and handouts, one particular subject remained neglected, so much so that just a day before the exam she had not even started reading the material. She sat for the exam nonetheless, and came out unsatisfied with her performance. She would be grateful if she even passed the exam. However, Sarah was in for a great surprise.

When the results were announced, Sarah found out that she had scored the highest percentage in that course, more than all the other students who had poured over books, handouts, notes etc and had made painstaking efforts to achieve good results.

The above scenario highlights one major aspect of our educational system—an aspect that is more pronounced at universities, where the teachers teaching students will be the same people checking their exam papers. The fact that teachers know the students whose papers they are marking leads to an almost inevitable bias in grading.

Most university teachers stress on the importance of class participation as a vital criterion for evaluating students. In some cases, class participation is one of the most significant factors leading to this bias. Generally, participation in class discussions is seen as a method whereby students learn to develop their speaking and persuasive skills, engage in active thinking and gain confidence. Therefore, many universities as well as schools set out a certain percentage of marks in each course for class participation.

When contacted, a few teachers and students voiced their opinions about class participation. For Saman Munawar who teaches secondary and ‘O’ level students, class participation holds immense significance. “It is an important tool for a teacher to appraise whether the class has conceived the lecture delivered,” she said. “It also plays an integral part in bonding the teacher and the student, which in turn helps the teacher to connect with the mental level of the student, and to adopt various methods to develop a better understanding in the child. As a teacher, if I have an active class during a lecture, I feel highly motivated.”  She is of the view that at least twenty percent of the total grading for a course should be allocated for class participation.

Sadat Jabeen is a teacher at the Department of Psychology at the University of Karachi. She feels that class participation is an indication of ‘active thinking’ among students. “A healthy class environment is one where students ‘think’ actively rather than passively listening,” she explained. “Class participation indicates this active thinking. Since it is one indication of student effort and, possibly, learning, credit may be given for it.”

Azra Ismail, a business student, also feels that class participation is a ‘healthy way of learning’ “It is important as it helps make the class more interactive, moving it away from monotony,” she said

However, a trend that has been observed in many schools and universities is that teachers tend to judge a student’s skills, abilities and understanding entirely on the basis of class participation. This is then reflected in how they grade student exam papers.

Class participation helps greatly in improving a student’s image in front of a teacher. Students who are active participants in class are often seen as ‘bright’, ‘able’ and ‘intelligent’ by teachers. This eventually leads to the ‘typing’ and ‘classification’ of students into good-student and bad-student categories. An interesting study about ‘typing’ was carried out by Hargreaves and colleagues (titled ‘Deviance in Classrooms’) on how pupils come to be ‘typed’ or ‘classified’ by teachers. Among the seven main criteria they noted upon which teachers initially ‘type’ students were: students’ appearance; how far they conformed to discipline; their ability and enthusiasm for work; how likeable they were; their relationships with other children; their personality and whether they were deviant. Although this does not explicitly include class participation, it can be assumed that ‘ability and enthusiasm for work’ are seen by teachers, to be reflected in class participation.

But, is class participation really such a reliable criterion for judging a student?

“Not always,” replied Sadat Jabeen. “Some intelligent students don’t feel the need to ask many questions or to share their views aloud, although they should. There are many components of being a good student and participation is just one of them.”

There are many students who have a great deal of knowledge and ideas about the topic under discussion in class but they are reluctant to participate orally. There may be a number of reasons for this. For one, they may be shy or lack the confidence to speak up in class. Or, they may be afraid of making mistakes, or of ridicule and criticism from classmates or teachers. On the other hand, there are some students who are naturally quiet and prefer listening as a learning strategy.

Hence, the practice of some teachers to judge students entirely on the basis of class participation may not be justified. Class participation is not the sole characteristic of a good student. In fact, in some cases, otherwise ‘invisible’ students in terms of contributions in oral discussions may be the brightest students of the class.

Nida Iqbal, a medical student, does not think that class participation is a reliable criterion for judging a student. “You can only judge a student’s confidence and ability to speak by it,” she said. She gives the example of a position holder in her college who never speaks up in class despite being such a good student, to illustrate how quiet students do not necessarily have to be lacking in knowledge or abilities.

“Some shy students do not participate in class in a frank manner, so their grasp of knowledge should not be judged entirely through class participation,” pointed out Ali Ahmed, an engineering student at a private university.

At times, students who have a great deal of knowledge and ideas are shy to speak up in class, while others who may not know as much gain in this area since they are good speakers. “Most of the students who speak out in class do not necessarily have the required knowledge,” said Madiha Sheikh, a university student enrolled in a social science degree. “Many a times they say irrelevant things. For example, I suffered in one course because I did not speak in class. I got only passing marks. Those who spoke in class got the highest marks, although they did not always have something fruitful to say when they spoke.”

Keeping in view the importance of class participation as a reflection of learning and the means to develop important skills in the student, it is acceptable that universities, colleges and schools set out a certain percentage of marks for class participation alongside other things. But the practice of teachers of judging a student entirely on the basis of class participation and subsequently placing them in good-student and bad-student categories because of it, is indeed unfair as it ignores the very purpose of education. Education is not just about gaining confidence and improving spoken communication skills, it is also about hard work and striving to gain new knowledge.

At the same time, teachers must make an effort to distinguish quality participation from participation that is repetitive and irrelevant. Quality participation is only possible after readings have been completed and lectures attended. In other words, after the student has made some effort at trying to understand the subject. It is important that contributions in class reflect prior preparation to avoid scenarios like the one mentioned in the beginning of this article.

In the end, it is important that a teacher make clear to the students what s/he expects from them at the beginning of a course. They must make known to the students what proportion of their marks depend on participation in class discussions and what proportion on written assessment, projects etc. Additionally, students must know that studying and working hard are essential to gaining good marks for any course.

Published in Dawn, Magazine, January 27, 2008.

How many times do we hear the words “I am bored” from those around us, and many a times, from ourselves? What is the most-cited reason for this rather peculiar emotion?

Most people blame boredom on lack of external stimulation, absence of interesting activities and the failure of the external world to engage one’s feelings, desires and mood. A dull environment, monotonous tasks and repetitive and uninteresting happenings are often cited as causes of boredom. But there is more to boredom than just external circumstances.

Interestingly enough, recent research provides evidence to show that far from the external environment and surroundings, boredom is more a result of our own failure to know ourselves.

The journal “Personality and Individual Differences” published a study carried out by John D. Eastwood and colleagues of York University (2007), demonstrating how boredom is the result of an inability to consciously access and understand one’s emotions. Participants in the study were made to complete questionnaires containing self-report scales of boredom, emotional awareness and their external orientation.

It was found that participants who reported experiencing more boredom, were also the ones who were more externally focused and had difficulty in identifying their emotions. Results indicated a correlation between boredom, emotional awareness and external orientation. The researchers concluded that the basic cause behind boredom is the inability of the individual to understand his/her own emotions.

Boredom is thus highly subjective and does not just arise because ‘there is nothing to do’ instead, it results from our inability to know ourselves and understand our desires. Hence, a greater awareness of oneself and one’s desires, is the key to battling boredom.

So the next time you feel bored, don’t blame your job, surroundings or environment. Take this opportunity to reflect deeply and try to understand yourself.

An edited version of this article was published in Dawn Education page, November 25, 2007.

As semester exams approach in most colleges and universities, tensions begin to mount and warning bells ring in the heads of many students. Those who were known as ‘party-animals’ lock themselves in their rooms and burry themselves in their books day and night. Worse still, many students will spend the night before each exam sipping coffee or tea, in an attempt to force themselves to stay up in order to complete the syllabus.

This phenomenon known as the ‘Pre-exam all-nighter’ is a fairly common study technique used by students today. Students deliberately deprive themselves of sleep before exams and stay up all (or most part) of the night studying, revising and cramming their heads with information. This lack of sleep is rarely made up for even in the day time, because a major part of their day is spent commuting to and from the exam venue, giving the exam and then maybe preparing for the next, if they are among the unfortunate ones who have consecutive exams in a row.

So, why is it that students resort to this method of preparing for exams?

Some students find night-time to be the best time to study, primarily because it is peaceful and tranquil then and there are no distractions like a sibling coming up for some help in his homework, a ringing phone, unexpected guests and the ever-so-attractive-at-exam-time family conversations. For Reema Dada, a student at a reputed business institute and one of the top students of her class, staying up till late night during exams or in order to meet deadlines is a common practice. “I find it quite effective, especially because in the day there are a thousand other things to do—people to talk to and lots of distractions!” she says. “It works for me. A couple of hours of sleep is good enough. But, despite that, the mornings aren’t all that great. I have to come back from the exam and sleep a couple of hours.” she adds further.

However, the benefits of studying at night-time is not usually the reason why students stay up at night preparing for an exam the very next day. Had it really been so, they might have used it throughout the semester and given themselves some more hours of sleep than they usually get before exams. Many students go without much quality sleep throughout the period exams last. And this is not just because they prefer studying at night, for, they could very well make up for that sleep during the day. It is more because they feel overburdened with work, since they had been procrastinating studying till the last moment.

“I hate staying up for studying primarily because I am a morning person and I can simply not study at night. But since I am also a procrastinator, hence I do end up studying at the end moment, which leads to fatigue in the morning and I usually end up forgetting whatever I had studied,” admits Aasiya Abdul Rauf, a graduate of one of Pakistan’s top most business institutes. “Personally speaking, I am not in favor of this technique. But, this works for my friends, so I guess it varies from person to person. I would not recommend it. For me, the best time to study is after fajar prayers, as I retain more at that time.”

Being disorganised, procrastinating work and studying and just having no concern for studies until the exam date-sheet knocks them into their senses are among the popular attitudes of youth in our country. Many students spend their entire semesters or academic years being completely aloof from studies, having fun and just ‘chilling out’, only to wake up in to a world of havoc just before the exams. Naturally then, they have to spend their days and nights studying to make up for all the precious hours they wasted.

“I don’t use this technique often, but sometimes I do have to stay up the night before an exam. When I stay up the night just before the exam, I am a bit stressed about it. This helps at times, to speed up my work. Sometimes, I get the work of several days done in one night, though the quality of the work isn’t always the best,” says Hina Salim, a university student enrolled in a social science degree. Although she does not recommend it, she is of the opinion that it works when the student has spent the entire year sleeping and just before the exam realises how much work he/she has to do. “I am forced to use this technique when I don’t do my work on its proper time. The reasons for this delay in work include either being busy with other important stuff or just laziness,” she admits, summing it up quite aptly: “I think doing work at the eleventh hour is a loser’s way of doing things, but if for some reason you have to do things this way…well, then you just have to stay up the night!”

While staying up all night may be effective in helping a student complete the syllabus or assignment on time, how effective is it really in bringing good results?

For Ahmed Saya, who is studying privately for a professional degree and teaches at various schools in the morning, a pre-exam all-nighter is an absolute ‘no-no’. “I once used this technique and it was a bad experience since I was drowsy during the day and could not fully concentrate in the exam,” he says. “I strongly recommend my students never to stay up all night before exams. This method does not help, instead it causes drowsiness and clustering of thoughts during exams. Instead of being helpful, staying up the whole night becomes a burden. It is bad for health, both physically and mentally. I believe this practice should be stopped immediately!”

Ahmed’s views are supported by those of many doctors and psychologists. Researchers have found that lack of sleep impairs the brain’s ability to store new information in memory. Sleep is vital for consolidating recently-learned material in memory. The organization or reorganization of memory or the conversion of learned material into more permanent memory has been found to be taking place primarily during sleep. Therefore, students who take-off for the exam after an intense period of all-night study without any sleep are in great risk of forgetting or missing out in the exam on what they have so laboriously learnt.

And that is not all. Recent research has found that sleep prior to learning is just as important to sleep after learning. So, there goes students’ hope for staying up studying for a long period only to have an hour or so of sleep just before the exam.

The journal Nature Neuroscience published a research conducted by Matthew Walker and colleagues (2007) on the importance of sleep prior to learning. The study compared the performance of two groups on a learning task. One group had slept the previous night as usual and the other group had gone about thrity-six hours without sleep. They were shown a series of pictures of people, landscapes and objects to remember. After two days, when everyone had had two nights of normal sleep, the participants were shown more pictures and they had to identify which they had been shown two days earlier. The group that had not slept before the learning task recognised nineteen percent fewer pictures. The researchers concluded sleep prior to learning was very important to retain learned material for later.

Therefore, burning the midnight oil to complete their syllabus is not such a good idea for students who want to succeed in their exams and learn something from their degrees. Education is supposed to be continuous process that adds to a student’s knowledge and experience. It is not just about passing the exam and resorting to any method to do that. In order to truly learn something students must read, study and practice consistently throughout the semester. Nida Iqbal Umer, a medical student at a private college sums it up quite aptly: “I don’t think this strategy is effective for the long term. It might work for the day of that exam but you don’t gain anything from it. To learn something you have to work continuously all the year round and study side by side. I think it is better if you sleep well and wake up early and revise. And this will only work if you have been studying all the year round and not just before exams.”

So, perhaps its time to banish all-night study and replace it with quality and consistent study all the year round.

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